Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 The Look Ahead

This morning at about 3:00 AM I woke up coughing and wheezing, unable to speak with my chest feeling so tight that at first I was afraid that I would not be able to draw in a deep enough breath for my inhaler to be effective.  I closed my eyes and mentally talked to myself, "Your lungs are in spasm.  Relax.  Breathe through your nose, slow deep breaths.  Don't give into panic.  Just breathe."

Seconds passed, the coughing eased and I was able to push the air out of my lungs enough to take an albuterol filled inhalation off my inhaler.  A minute passed, I took another, this time I was able to breath more deeply.  Two more puffs and I was able to take a moderately deep breath.  I sat in the darkness of my bedroom and pondered whether or not I should to go the emergency room.

I thought about my insurance and tried to remember how much of an ER visit it would cover.  I took mental stock of my tight cash supplies; would I have enough money to take a cab?  Logically I new that if I chose not to go I would spend the rest of the night taking measured doses of medication, sitting up, not sleeping, counting my breaths until dawn hoping that things would improve on their own.  As I sat there with these thoughts rolling around in my head and the rhythm of my wheezy chest keeping time I heard a voice.

No, it wasn't a divine intervention and I wasn't having some bizarre, oxygen deprived brain hallucination.  What I heard in my mind was the voice of a dear friend saying, "...please go to the emergency room.  I love you and want you to be well."  Another voice popped in, "You know you'd tell me to high tail my butt there if this were me pondering whether or not to go. A more curmudgeonly comrade, "Don't be a dumbass. You can't breathe, go." And, "If something happens to you my giant friend, I'll be a tiny person all alone in the world!"

And so I did.  I put on my jacket and shoes, stuffed my current crochet project into my bag (is there an ER in the world that doesn't keep you forever?), sent a text to my sleeping roommate so he'd know where I was and called a cab.  Thirty minutes later I was being given a nebulizer treatment and the squeaks, crackles and wheezes of my lungs were slowly silenced.  I could breathe deeply once again. Three and a half hours later I was back home, spooning the cat and snuggling down under the covers in the hopes that I'd be able to fall asleep despite the albuterol and steroid induced alertness I was now feeling.

So what do this morning's events have to do with looking ahead to my intentions for 2013?

1.  My health.  Overall my health tends to be pretty good.  I am pretty sure I had fewer illnesses this year though I definitely had a much rougher allergy year in 2012.   My asthma however has become steadily worse over the past year.  After several years with no ER visits at all 2012 had two (including last night) plus one visit to my doctor to catch a flair up this fall.  It is a problem I don't often share with people and I will go out of my way to hide it.  I rarely use my inhaler in front of anyone. .  It is one of those things that makes me feel weak and vulnerable, and I like to think I can take on just about anything.

It's time I face up to the fact that I am not managing it as well as I should be.  I know that I am not always great about taking my preventative medication though sometimes even with my insurance I can't afford to buy it.  I'm sometimes allow my self to eat things that I know may increase my likelihood of having an attack simply because I am in a hurry.  There are quite a few other things I could be doing to take better care of my health in general.

I did a lot in 2012 to better my own mental well being and reduce my stress level but this year I need to focus more on my physical health.  So intention number one for 2013 is to be far more conscientious about taking care of my body.  It is after all the only one I have right?

2.  My friends (warning - this is about to get a bit mushy).  There I was at three o'clock in the morning, dealing with a crisis by myself and yet I didn't feel alone. Though my friends were not physically present, their love was.  Maybe if I'd sat a bit longer and my chest got a bit tighter I'd have gone on my own, but it was the voices of those I love, even if only imagined, that sent me to the ER when I did.

Me being, well me, one of the first things I did when I arrived at the ER was check in on Facebook (hey, priorities right?).  It was only moments later that friends, mostly from those still awake in other time zones, began texting me to ask how I was and to offer support.  When I arrived home friends on this coast began to rise and shine. offers of assistance and well wishes lit up my iPhone.

My life is full of really wonderful, interesting, generous and caring people.  My world is full of love and the second of my intentions for this coming year is to honor that love and the community of people that it comes from.  Letting people I know that I love and care for them, expressing gratitude for the good things in my life, offering my support to those who are in need and whatever else I can do to further the cause of love.

So my friends. per the doctor's orders tonight I will be staying home instead of making New Year's Eve visits to the homes of various friends as I originally planned.  New Year's Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year largely because of the people I am able to spend it with.  I am little sad that I won't be able to ring in 2013 with all of you but just as you were in my heart in the early hours of this morning, you will be there at midnight tonight and my New Year's Eve toast will be you.

Happy New Year!  May 2013 be full of love, good pizza, and prosperity for us all.

PS - this post officially marks the successful completion of my December NaBloPoMo commitment which probably deserves it own toast.  Go me!

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